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Painting your walls does not need to be a major undertaking, thanks to the variety of modern products that eliminate the need for priming and offer a faster drying time than traditional paints.
We researched the best paints for interior walls, evaluating ease of application, finish, color selection, formulation, and value. Our best overall pick, the Sherwin-Williams Cashmere, is a paint/primer combo that applies evenly, is easy to clean, and looks and feels silky.
Here are the best interior wall paints.
The best paint for interior walls is Sherwin-Williams Cashmere Interior Acrylic Latex (view at Sherwin-Williams). You can’t beat the buttery smooth application and rich, low-stipple finish. However, if you’re having a hard time choosing a color, you can’t go wrong with The Spruce Best Home by KILZ Interior Paint & Primer (view at Amazon). The 32 shades are curated, providing foolproof versatility and an elegant appearance.
The color you pick is likely your biggest consideration when selecting interior paint. Even if you already know what color interior paint you want, there are many shade choices. Most major paint manufacturers offer an extensive selection of color chips. Use them to narrow down your options, then consider purchasing a pint-sized paint tester to try out the color at home if you’re still torn.
If you can’t find an exact match in the color swatches, typically, you can have a custom color mixed at your local paint store. Bring in a sample of the shade you’re imagining—it can be anything, even a pillow or a favorite sweater—and a color code machine called a spectrophotometer scans and deciphers the color. The machines aren’t perfect, so visually check the color to see if it’s on target with what you were imagining. The paint mixer should be able to tweak it further, if necessary.
Another option is a small device, the Color Muse (view on Amazon), which can scan a wall, counter, or other object and find you the closest color match among top paint brands. The device reads the RGB (red, green, blue) values of the color and identifies paint choices that match. If no matching shade is found, the device provides you with the RGB code to create a custom paint shade. Paint color options are limitless. The bigger task is selecting your top choice for your space, style, and furnishings.
You have three basic finish categories to choose from, and sometimes paint is categorized by these finish types. Select from a flat finish, low-luster, or glossy finish.
Flat paint is exactly as it sounds—the resulting finish doesn’t reflect much light. It’s also called a matte finish. This type of interior paint is good for surfaces that won’t see much action, like ceilings. It’s usually the least expensive type of interior paint, and it can be difficult to keep clean and look fresh. Only use flat paint if you’re on a tight budget and using it on an out-of-the-way location in your house. On the plus side, matte paint will hide imperfections better than shinier finishes.
The next type of finish is low-luster, which only offers a slight reflection of light. Low-luster paints include both eggshell and satin finishes. Of the two, the eggshell is slightly more matte. This type of paint is prevalent since it’s versatile and offers increased durability and cleaning ability compared to flat paint. You’ll likely want to use interior paint with a satin or eggshell finish in the majority of areas within your home, such as living room and bedroom walls, hallways, bathrooms, and more; all are good places to use a low-luster finish.
Finally, paints with a glossy finish offer a high amount of sheen or light reflection and a harder finish than flat paints. This category includes semi-gloss paints that are slightly more matte than their glossy counterparts. Glossy paint is used for windowsills or handrails, while semi-gloss paints are popular in higher humidity areas, like kitchens or bathrooms. Glossy paints look beautiful but magnify any imperfections in the surface they’re painted on, so take this into account when selecting your paint finish.
The finish you choose will depend on where you are painting and how resilient you want the finish. Aesthetics also play a role; high gloss finishes add drama, while a more matte appearance might play into calmer surroundings.
Volatile organic compounds are commonly referred to as VOCs, and it’s important to know if your paint has them. If the thought of a freshly painted room makes your nose wrinkle, it’s because you’ve smelled VOCs before.
To keep the chemistry lesson brief, VOCs are compounds that are emitted from some solids or liquids. Many latex-based paints are considered low VOC formulas. These are a better option for interior painting since they will minimize the exposure you have to VOCs during painting and afterward.
Oil-based paints have a higher concentration of VOCs, and so do the paint thinners needed to clean the brushes and rollers you use to apply the paint. If you opt for oil-based paint or paint that isn’t low VOC, take extra precautions to ventilate the area.
Some interior paints have additives to enhance the application or finish of the paint. Consider what you’re trying to achieve with your painting project to determine which—if any—additives are necessary for your purposes.
Enamel is one of the most common additives you’ll find in interior paint. The addition of enamel to the paint formula reduces the paint’s porosity and results in a harder, more durable finish. This could be important for high-traffic areas where dirt might infiltrate the paint or if the finish is subjected to lots of touching and bumping.
Acrylic is often added to oil-based paint to prevent yellowing. This is a common downfall of oil-based interior paint. By adding acrylic, the paint stays true to its original hue longer. You’ll also see acrylic added to latex paints to improve their durability and finish.
First, tape the trim so you don’t accidentally paint over it. Apply primer to your wall to ensure the paint sticks and then carefully apply the paint. Paint at least two coats for a solid wash and always allow the paint to fully dry between coats.
Consider eyeballing it if you don’t need an exact match. If it does need to be exact, you can take a photo on your phone and use a paint matching app to get the right match or match the color to a piece of fabric or spool of thread.
Most interior wall paint will dry in about one hour, but it all depends on the type of paint you use. Check the instructions on your product to learn more about how long it takes to dry completely.
Theresa Holland researched and wrote this roundup. As a professional writer and homeowner with a DIY spirit, she has substantial experience testing and reviewing home improvement products. In addition to The Spruce, she also writes for MyDomaine.
Additional reporting and research was done by Lauren Murphy, an experienced writer and editor who specializes in DIYs, home upgrades, and other home-related topics.
Disclaimer: Curated and re-published here. We do not claim anything as we translated and re-published using google translator. All images and Tattoo Design ideas shared only for information purpose.